Data Journalism (Reading Response)

For some journalism pieces, sometimes simple imagery and story telling is not enough. There needs to be an extra layer to better convey the message. This often includes supporting and informative data, from mere statistics to full blow info graphs. Data journalism is the term used to describe this form/additional component of writing. The exact definition of data journalism is a bit harder to pin down, for both terms–data and journalism–are constantly evolving, but the Data Journalism Handbook helps by describing the process as, “[combining] the traditional ‘nose for news’ and [the] ability to tell a compelling story, with the sheer scale and range of digital information now available (datajournalismhandbook.org).

I enjoy how the Data Journalism Handbook quotes Brian Boyer Chicago Tribune on his view of Data Journalism. Boyer compared it to photo journalism. This got me thinking, and it makes complete sense. Data journalism is ultimately, like photo journalism, a modern age extension of storytelling. It is a newer approach to conveying information. The Data Journalism Handbook also brings in good examples of data journalism in use, where I cannot imagine the story/information being better conveyed any other way. The Texas Tribune used data to display governmental employee salaries. The Las Vegas Sun used data journalism to effectively showcase hospital care through 2.9 million hospital billing records.

With all the digital advancements that the world has undergone, it would be a crime to ignore legitimate and assessable data that can better enhance the message trying to be conveyed to the public by journalists.

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